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Media Advisory

Press Conference in D.C. on U.S. Forced Labor

20 September 2004

ATTENTION: All Reporters

Contact: Janet Gilmore
(510) 642-5685 jeg@pa.urel.berkeley.edu

A press conference at which researchers will release a disturbing new report revealing the nature and scope of forced labor in the United States. The report addresses where it occurs, how often, and how actions or inaction at the federal and local levels facilitate its occurrence. The study was conducted by the University of California, Berkeley's Human Rights Center and the Washington, D.C.-based anti-slavery group "Free the Slaves."

Forced labor is work or service which is exacted from any person through the use of threats, coercion or fraud, often for little or no pay. It frequently involves the international trafficking of adults or children into the United States. Individuals may be compelled to work in deplorable conditions as domestic workers, prostitutes, restaurant and hotel workers, factory workers and field workers.

This Thursday, Sept. 23, 11 a.m. to noon

441 Cannon, The Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

Participants will include the report's authors, federal lawmakers, and a victim of forced labor who will tell his personal story.

The report covers the period of 1998 to 2003 and is based on quantitative and qualitative data, including a survey of 49 service providers experienced in forced labor cases; an analysis of 131 cases of forced labor reported in U.S. newspapers; eight case studies of forced labor in various regions of the United States, and interviews with government officials, service providers, and labor advocates.

Note: An individual will be available to share his personal story with reporters.

For more information, contact Free the Slaves media office, Jolene Smith, (202) 588-1865.